- - Wednesday, January 25, 2012


25 dead after warlord returns to southeast

KINSHASA | Aid workers declared “a humanitarian catastrophe” Wednesday in southeastern Congo and blamed the recent deaths of at least 25 people on a warlord who broke out of jail late last year.

Kyungu “Gedeon” Mutanga’s return to his fief in northern Katanga province has caused villagers to flee their homes by the thousands, and children are starting to die of malnutrition because of their precarious living conditions, according to a survey by the African Association for the Defense of Human Rights.

The aid group said at least 12,500 people were displaced and 10 women had been raped by Mutanga’s Mai Mai militia.

At least 1,000 children are malnourished, and in a four-day period this month, 19 infants and toddlers died of acute malnutrition in the refugee settlements.

Mutanga was sentenced to death in 2009 for rape and crimes against humanity. On Sept. 7, he broke out of jail in the provincial capital of Lubumbashi and returned to the northern part of the province.

He remains at large with a $100,000 bounty placed on his head by the government.


Kenya to set up election violence tribunal

NAIROBI | The International Criminal Court prosecutor on Tuesday commended Kenya’s political leaders - and even four suspects accused of orchestrating mass violence - for cooperating with the international tribunal, saying that Kenya is “showing a 21st-century model to manage conflict.”

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said it could take 18 months or more to bring to trial four Kenyans charged with crimes against humanity for violence that followed the country’s 2007 presidential election. More than 1,000 people died.

Kenya will hold elections this year or in early 2013, and the trial timeline set out by Mr. Moreno-Ocampo sets up the possibility Kenya could elect a president who will then have to stand trial at The Hague.

The court on Monday confirmed charges against four of six original suspects, including Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Education Minister William Ruto. Both plan to run for president.


Truck bomb explodes at Ethiopian base

MOGADISHU | A truck bomb targeted an Ethiopian military base inside Somalia on Tuesday, and Islamist militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

An al-Shabab spokesman said the group carried out a successful martyrdom operation against what it called “Ethiopian invaders” in the western Somali town of Beledweyne.

The militant group claimed that the blast killed a high number of Ethiopian troops, but there was no confirmation of a death toll from officials.

The number of dead or injured from Tuesday morning’s bombing may never be known. The Ethiopian military rarely discloses such figures.

Al-Shabab on its Twitter feed claimed that 33 Ethiopian troops were killed in the attack.

Large numbers of Ethiopians entered Somalia last month to help the weak U.N.-backed government defeat al Qaeda-linked insurgents. Beledweyne is near the two countries’ joint border.

Meanwhile, in the capital, the U.N.’s special representative to Somalia moved his office to Mogadishu for the first time since 1995.


Youths overrun bombed-out police station

KANO | Jubilant youths overran a blood-splattered police station Wednesday after it was attacked by a radical Islamist sect, revealing a streak of popular discontent with a government that many say has failed them in Africa’s most populous nation.

Suspected members of Boko Haram surrounded the police station Tuesday night in Kano, ordered civilians to get off the street, began chanting “God is great” and threw homemade bombs into the station while spraying it with assault rifles, witnesses said.

The attack followed coordinated assaults Friday that killed at least 185 people in Kano, Nigeria’s second-largest city.

Associated Press journalists on Wednesday saw that youths had overrun the bombed-out station in the Sheka neighborhood of this sprawling city in northern Nigeria.


Aid group: Clashes show ‘extreme violence’

JUBA | Thousands of South Sudanese civilians fled a wave of ethnic clashes and face the danger of being attacked in hiding in what an international medical group on Tuesday called a pattern of “extreme violence.”

Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday that wounded patients are still coming to their hospital with gunshot and stab wounds, weeks after the last attack in Jonglei state, a remote and volatile region of the new nation of South Sudan.

The group said it had seen dozens of gunshot and stab wounds at one hospital and that 25 of its staff of 156 are missing. The group said one of its clinics in the village of Lekwongole was largely destroyed.

The U.N. has said that more than 120,000 people need humanitarian aid after a wave of clashes between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities in the remote and volatile region.

No reliable death toll for the clashes has yet been established. Officials have given tolls ranging from 160 to more than 3,000.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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